READ: Acts 25:13–26:1
THINK: If you asked people who Jesus is, what do you think most would say? Whether or not they know the Bible or believe that Jesus’ life has anything to do with theirs, most will still likely claim that His greatest influence came from His sacrifice–His death. If they believe He rose from the dead, some would accurately conclude that His greatest influence and triumph came through that act. Either way, Jesus’ greatest impression on humanity–those who accept Him and those who don’t–came through the most difficult and uncommon aspects of His life. The same is true with His followers. Their greatest influence most often comes through difficult and unusual circumstances. As with Jesus, the journey to your destiny will not be an easy road, but it will likely be an adventurous one.
RESPOND: Why was the Governor confused about Jesus and whether He was dead or alive? In what ways are people today confused about Jesus because of the mixed signals they get from both religious and nonreligious people? What are some of the misconceptions people have about Jesus? What was unusual about the way Paul got to meet with and testify to so many influential leaders? Why does God often take His people through difficult times and unusual routes in order to give them the greatest opportunities?
PRAY: Ask God to help you conduct yourself in ways that won’t send mixed signals, but instead convey to others an accurate impression of Jesus. Ask God to give you influence with those in authority, even through difficult situations.
ACT: Show special kindness, consideration and helpfulness to any leaders in your life–parents, teachers, administrators, supervisors, pastors, etc. Go out of your way to serve them in practical ways, realizing that this is one of the best ways to gain favor and influence with people in authority. Also, ask several peers from different backgrounds what their views are of Jesus. You might draft a brief survey (e.g., Who is Jesus and what did He do? Do you believe He rose from the dead? Why or why not? Has His life affected you in any way? If so, how?) You don’t have to get into deep spiritual conversations. Simply let them see that you’re interested in their impressions so you can help your church better connect with people. Graciously thank everyone who offers feedback and ask if there is anything you can pray about for them. You might be surprised by the responses. Write down the requests and remember to pray.